Echinodorus opacus “Goncalo” 2003

Hello all!
I know that I said that my next post would be on another Bucephelandra variety, but I think I am going to change it up today and do a post on a gem of a Sword plant by the name of Echinodorus opacus “Goncalo” 2003. (“Goncalo” is pronounced “Gonsalo”)

Echino. opacus small specimen
These smaller specimens would fetch about $300 a plant. Don’t you love how compact this plant is when it’s in it’s smaller stages of growth!?

This is one of the more popular and rare Sword plants in the hobby. The reason for this is it’s limited importation and its very very slow growth. The 2003 on the name denotes, the year that it was imported, at least into Japan. According to my source, there was only one importation of this opacus, and that was in 2003. As the name also denotes the collection site for this Sword was from Rio Goncalo, Brazil.

This Sword typically commands a high price, obviously due to its rarity and slow growth. When I first saw a specimen of this plant in Japan back around 2003, it was on sale for about $500 for a 4-5inch tall plant. To this day it still commands that price, maybe a bit cheaper due to the fact that by now, hobbyists have propagated it and spread it around a fair bit.

These full-grown specimens would fetch about $500+ a plant!

This Sword may not be the most colorful or the most flamboyant in terms of leaf shape, but there is definitely a few characteristics that really make this one stand out from the rest. In my eye at least, the aspects of this Sword that catch my eye are:
1. The plant is a very hard-to-the-touch, it is not a soft and flimsy species. Typically plants that are this type of “hard” means they aren’t really suited for life underwater, and also it typically means it will be a slow growing plant.
2. It stays relatively small compared to most other Echinodorus. Whereas most other swords get quite large sometimes massive, I have only seen this one get to about 3-4in. tall and 4-5in. wide. This one stays very compact. In fact one of the defining characteristics is that it has almost no stem to the leaves.
3. The leaves are quite round, and they can slightly bend a bit, with a sharp tip. They get to about 3in. width and 2in. length.
4. Some may see this as a draw back but I see it as a positive. Original wild opacus is a very very slow growing plant, typically growing 1 full size leaf in a month, maybe longer. What makes this a positive for me is that it requires little if any trimming or pruning, I just leave it alone and it does its thing! We all know how swords can easily become a massive “light-blocker” or a “running-mess”.
5. This is not a hard Sword plant to grow, it is quite easy, just give it soft (2-3 degrees) and acidic (5-6ph) water.
6. The veins on the leaves of this plant are a bright-green, very visible and makes for a nice contrast to the dark-green of the webbing of the leaves.


I hope that I could bring out all of the great aspects of this rare Echinodorus to all of you. Again it may not be the most flashy of Sword plants, but it is quite the “gem” for the hardcore plant-collector.
Thank you for checking out this post! I hope you enjoyed it! My next post may be on another rare Echinodorus, but don’t hold me to it! 😛 Please leave a comment! ☺
Take care all!